SAS Institute will today announce plans to offer Linux versions of its data warehousing and decision support software.
A Linux version of the SAS System software suite will be available in the fourth quarter of this year, vnunet.com can exclusively reveal. The suite will initially be available for Red Hat Linux on Intel hardware and be extended to all major distributions of Linux.
Analysts said the move is good news for the Linux operating system. Some had previously expressed concern about a lack of commitment from some major enterprise software vendors.
Bob Moran, research vice president at the Aberdeen Group, said: "Many IT managers are attracted to the reliability and ease of use of Linux, but are worried about the dearth of heavy-duty business applications on the platform. SAS's intent to port SAS software to Linux will help allay these concerns."
SAS said the move is in response to customer demand. Of 550 customers the company surveyed last year, more than three quarters were already running Linux, and nearly 90 per cent were interested in licensing a production release of SAS software for Linux.
SAS plans to field test the Linux version of its software with customers and academics for feedback on hardware configuration, compatibility, software installation and other issues before hitting full-scale production.
Researcher the GartnerGroup last month warned users to delay deploying Linux at the core of their IT systems until 2001 because of the lack of support from some packaged-application suppliers. There are exceptions, however, such as SAP, which has Linux versions of its software available.
Keith Collins, SAS's vice president of research, said: "Based on positive customer feedback, as well as the increasing number of Fortune 1000 companies looking seriously at Linux as a viable operating system choice for their enterprise-wide business applications, we felt that the time was right for us to offer a Linux version of SAS software."
"We are pleased by the recent moves to support Linux by IBM, Intel and other SAS technology partners."
Moran said the announcement "adds to the overall viability of the Linux platform and will help bolster the confidence of companies deploying Linux".
SAS already supports all the major operating systems including Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, Windows 2000, Windows NT and mainframe operating systems.
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